Under 30: Part 8

In the face of mounting embarrassment, what was left of the League arranged to meet in HQ on Saturday evening. Rachel and I arrived before everyone else. She’d gone to an open mike night on Friday, so this was the first chance we’d had to talk in two days.

We sat down at the table in the main room, and waited.

“I completely forgot to tell you about the Ice Twins yesterday morning,” I said. “Sorry.”

“Don’t apologise. I needed the sleep. I stayed at Lucas’ house until four in the morning.”


“Don’t start. It got weird. We were flirting during the movies, and when we left, the idea that we’d go to his place and have sex seemed like the most natural thing in the world. Then once we got there, I started thinking. I never have sex on the first date, and I definitely don’t have sex after talking to a guy for maybe forty minutes between movies. So we didn’t, but something strange was going on.”

“Vaughn said Lucas was pretty smooth.”

“Not that smooth. Smoother than a high school boy, yes. And definitely smoother than ‘Hey Haley, you wanna make out in space?’”

“I didn’t say that, and how did you know about it anyway?”

“Well, it’s not as if Haley and I never see each other. You’re lucky she thought it was funny. I’d have been out of there so quickly—”

“I’d hope, because that would be incest.”

Rachel frowned, and tapped the table with her finger. “Forget I said it. My point was if romance were a stairway to the second floor, ideas like that take you down a ladder to the basement of a completely different house.”

I didn’t say anything for a little while. “Well, anyway, I’ve got a theory about uh… Lucas. If Evil Beatnik feeds off rebellion, and he can possess people, maybe he can influence people who he doesn’t possess? So anyone under thirty would be vulnerable, but you might be more vulnerable than me because you’re probably more cool—”

“God, I hope so.”

“—and you’re closer to whatever ‘anti-establishment’ is than I am. Half your clothes are black, and you ignored a lot of rules even before this year.”

“And because of that, he could feed off Lucas and me if we had sex?”

“That’s my theory.”

“That’s… disgusting. So where are you getting all this, and how did the original League stop him?”

I showed her the files, and we read until everybody else showed up.

* * *

“I think Marcus is the only one who hasn’t read through Evil Beatnik’s files now,” Jaclyn said.

Marcus looked up from a folder filled with yellowed paper. “Give me a minute. You don’t seriously expect me to read all this at once.”

“No, but you need to know it.” Pausing for a breath, she said, “And that’s not all. We need to pull files on the Ice Twins’ whole team.”

Technically, we didn’t have files on any of them. The originals were gone. What we had might be close, or it might be totally wrong if they were good with technology, or didn’t have quite the same powers as their namesakes…

But whatever. We pulled the files on Ice Queen, Dr. Madness, Destruction Lord, and Dixie Superman anyway. I checked the computer records half-heartedly, and as expected, they didn’t have much by comparison to the manila folders in the file cabinets.

We had a thick piles of records of each person, thicker for Ice Queen and Dr. Madness because Grandpa included information about their inventions, and sometimes schematics. We pulled additional folders for “Fire and Ice,” the team Ice Queen and Destruction Lord founded, and more yet for “The Rebels,” Dixie Superman’s followers.

People put names on a list as they ran across them, and I checked the FBI database or Double V’s website.

“All ‘The Rebels’ are dead or in old age homes. The only living member of ‘Fire and Ice’ is Johnny Destruction, and no one knows where he is. Ice Queen died last year in Tampa, Florida. Destruction Lord died when the original League ran him down in Cleveland in the 70’s. Um… The FBI database corroborates our files and Double V’s in saying that Dixie Superman hasn’t been seen since 1981. So that’s everybody.”

Jaclyn looked up from her pile of paper. “What about their kids or grandchildren?”

“There’s nothing about any of them taking up the family business.”

Rachel shook her head. “Is there anything about any of them going missing?”

“Not that I can find so far, but I might not be looking in the right database.”

Marcus put Evil Beatnik’s folder back on the table. “In comics, this legacy nemesis thing is whole lot more fun. They show up, do something horrible to your family, and then you go out, and stop them. Look, in Starman, the Mist reappears, his son shoots the current Starman, and then all kinds of craziness happens. With us, the Ice Twins are robbing banks, and we’re sitting in the basement watching Nick check who died on the internet.”

Vaughn nodded. “Yeah, we ought to go out, and try to find them.”

“I know,” Jaclyn said, “I know, but if we want to win, we’d better know what we’re facing, and since no one’s ever heard of them, we have to look here.”

Rachel nodded. “Isn’t it interesting that no one’s ever heard of them?”

“I hope you’re not suggesting they’re from an alternate universe,” Vaughn said. “Because that would suck.”

“No, I’m thinking they don’t do this normally. Evil Beatnik influenced them somehow, and he might be influencing us.”

19 thoughts on “Under 30: Part 8”

  1. Seriously, the dialogue has become so much fresher and funnier, Jim you’re impressing me and that’s saying a lot when it was already a five star story — I can’t give you six stars, dude. They don’t have that feature.

  2. Dude. This is a story about superheroes. These things never have limits. If you wanna exceed any previous known parameters and go to six stars because it’s cooler, or more impressive, or you’re just bored with 5, then go for it.

    I remember Marvel in the 90’s when the Hulk turned grey and got weaker, and all the other major strong guys got stronger: Colossus, Thing, Iron Man even!

    Superheroes == arbitrary power limitations


  3. Ok, so Beatnik is definitely influencing them. And i’m loving it! I was laughing at the conversationg between Nick and Rachel.
    It seems that sex is on everybodys mind lately. They watched a porn about themselves, lots of flrting was going on that night, there was talking of a gender-bending gun. A few episodes ago when Nick found out about Lucas flirting with Rach his mind jumped to the fact that Rachels last relationship “hadn’t been with a guy”.

    Looking forward to where this is going.

  4. The best moment ever was “you’re probably cooler than me” — “God I hope so.”

    It was just such an awesome, deadpan interjection.

    And I mean I can’t give Jim 6 stars on the Web Fiction Guide because there are only 5 in its algorithms. I can say “6 stars!” in the review but this story is ongoing and it’s going to get ridiculous if I keep going up 7, 8, 9, 10 as the plot goes on for the next umpteen years.

  5. So, I go backpacking around New Zealand for a month (awesome btw, strongly recommend it) and I come back to civilisation to find that your team of superhero teens allowed a spirit of chaos to escape? How very irrisponsible of you, Jim!

    A fabulous read as always. Third in my list of pleasures of getting back to civilisation, after a hot shower and a cup of tea.

    Also glad that this arc has a different team selection. Its nice to change them around a bit.

    Ramble over. 🙂

  6. Hg/Gavin: I guess that means it can only go downhill from here. On the bright side, I think I’ve got a long way to grow in terms of writing…

    Gavin: Writing scenes with Nick and Rachel together is fun in part just because they’re siblings (and friends to a degree), but different personalities.

    Kyle: The funny thing is that I’ve always allowed for the possibility that there would be more sexual content than has appeared so far. I’ve just never seen any need for it to appear yet. And I’ve yet to write an actual sex scene in any Legion story. Not sure why. It just hasn’t been relevant to what’s going on so far.

    Silas Cova: I’ll have to work out a way to go to New Zealand somehow. There are a lot of places I’d like to go though. As for the team selection… Yeah, it’s good to put different characters together. If Daniel and Haley are in the story, Nick will tend to be with them, and thus we see less of a lot of other characters.

  7. I read the line where Vaughn said “I hope you’re not suggesting they’re from an alternate universe,Because that would suck.” and I think I imploded with laughter, oh jimmy boy you’ve been very naughty…

  8. Unlike the readers, I’m pretty sure Vaughn doesn’t remember the incident fondly…

    Also, I realized as I wrote that no one knew who the villains were, that that was the exact same situation as the beginning of Robert’s story, and decided to intentionally reference it instead of doing so unintentionally.

  9. I love being caught up 🙂 It means the author replies sometimes!

    Since I was neo-beatnik for like, a year, this story is especially funny.

    I’m a total squarebear, though, so I strongly identify with Nick in this story, because he’s T-square! (/lame engineering joke)

    If I were nick, I’d be checking people’s hands whenever I saw them for a ring..

  10. Jim, if you get the chance to go, go. New Zealand or anywhere else that you want to go. Don’t regret not later in life.
    And if you do go to New Zealand, head into Roturua and check out the Pigs Head pub. I swear the barman there is Travis.

  11. I’m with Gavin (another author known for slick and polished dialogue). Jim, as someone who’s been reading this for..what..two years plus, these kids are sounding more and more like actual people I know (not that I know anyone who keeps a jetship/starjet/whatever in their garage next to their powered armor suit).

  12. >>Hg/Gavin: I guess that means it can only go downhill from here.<<

    Not necessarily. Star Trek IV (the one with the whales) came out in 1986 and was considered THE classic Trek adventure (Wrath of Khan notwithstanding). The following year comes….Star Trek The Next Generation.

    Spider-Man II came out in theaters and had everybody like "Damn, best Marvel movie EVAR." Then comes…Iron Man. Later followed by X Men: First class.

    There is always room for harder, better, faster, stronger (a little Kanye West never hurts.)

  13. Some of those are debateable, and you’re dealing with a crowd full of master debaters. We don’t need to wind up in the middle of a Star Trek war, not to be confused with a mass migration of Star Wars fans, which would be a Star Wars trek.

    And I personally never thought Spider-man II was the best out of that trilogy. And, as we all remember from the incident involving Kanye West, a sleepy mountaint own in Colorado, and a joke about fish sticks, a little Kanye can indeed hurt.

  14. >>you’re dealing with a crowd full of master debaters. We don’t need to wind up in the middle of a Star Trek war<<

    You challenge me, sir??

    *Bill's Rocket suit hums with energy as he takes off his guitar laser and aims it at the Gecko.*

  15. What really hurts is that you’re referencing a Daft Punk song, which Kanye grabbed the coattails of. I don’t see too many ‘Daft Hands’ youtube videos for his version… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2cYWfq–Nw

    The character conversation is spot-on… the byplay between Nick and his sister is quite impressive writing. Also I noticed that apparently the Ice Queen was roaming in my neighborhood before she died, which is ironic in more ways than I can fathom at the moment. ^_^

  16. Parahacker: I was imagining she probably died in a nursing home near or in Tampa, possibly in an explosion involving mad science and an awful lot of ice.

    SilasCova: I’ve got young kids, so right now any vacations I take are chosen through the filter of “What can kids handle?” I’m thinking that interesting stuff will have to wait till they’re older.

    Bill/PG: I’m thinking that even if I can’t go higher on webfictionguide.com, I can definitely still improve, and I’ll be doing that for a while.

    Also, please don’t shoot each other on the carpet. Blood stains are hard to get out.

  17. *Bill reconsiders in light of the Mighty Z’s entreaty. He places his guitar laser back in his sheath. He then presses a button on his suits chestplate; causing a Corona to pop out of one of the suit’s arm compartments.

    He hands it to the Gecko who frowns. Momentarily confused, Bill presses another button which instantly chills the Corona. The Gecko is pleased and the two shake hands.*

  18. Jim, you’re continuing to improve your writing style and that’s a high compliment. As far as writing sex into the storyline, I suppose that depends on how far you want to blend the “old comics” with the “real world.” I’ve always thought the sci-fi writer Wilson Tucker gave me the best advice about that. “The time to end a sex scene is at the bedroom door.” What you’ve done so far is great IMO, but please have Rachael (or someone) take Nick aside and give him some tips on being romantic (at least tell him to keep his inner geek from controlling his mouth on a date).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *